Add More Syrup to Your Pancakes. Put Extra Jam on Your Toast.

by Karen Topakian

Music to my ears. And rarely uttered by anyone in the health care world.

But that was the advice given to me by the scheduler at the Blood Centers of the Pacific. In preparation for donating platelets for the first time tomorrow morning.

Having been a blood donor for many years, whole and plasma. I had to stop for 12 months after Peg and I traveled to Vietnam in ’09. Because it is considered a malarial country.

Since my blood type, B-, is no longer needed for plasma donations, I’ve decided to switch to platelets. A 70-minute to two-hour process that includes carbo-loading before hand. What’s not to like?

The process includes drawing blood from your arm through sterile tubing, spinning it in a centrifuge, which separates the blood components based on weight and density. The platelets are saved in a collection bag and the remaining blood components, red cells and plasma are returned to the donor.

Pretty simple. And no, the needle doesn’t hurt.

Here’s the best part. My platelets will go to cancer patients, organ or marrow transplant recipients, victims of traumatic injuries and/or patients undergoing open-heart surgery.

Since Peg and I have several friends with serious illnesses, we know that these donations can and do save people’s lives.

Won’t you join me in donating whole blood, plasma or platelets?

P.S. If you see me tomorrow morning chowing down on a short stack with extra syrup, you’ll know why.